Forget the bacon butty, Ed Miliband has had his chips

Labour lost this election the moment they elected Ed Miliband as their leader. The bacon sandwich incident, the weird mannerisms and bizarre and confusing policies are just the finale of Labour’s greatest mistake for a generation

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The butty of the jokes: even Ed Balls is mocking Ed Miliband
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Steven George-Hilley
On 1 February 2015 15:16

This morning’s papers are stuffed with criticism and negative briefings against Labour leader Ed Miliband, not from the opposition, but from his own side.

The latest round of attacks on Labour’s chaotic election campaign come following a series of questionable policy announcements on the National Health Service (NHS), proposing billions of pounds of extra spending without clear plans for reform.

This diversion of policy is symptomatic of Labour’s failure to establish a legitimate narrative on the economy. Like all parties who are heading for electoral defeat, Labour have reverted to a default position of scaremongering on the issue of healthcare, instead of painting a picture of what life might be like with Ed Miliband in Number 10.

In addition to this foolhardy approach, Labour’s chaotic campaign has focussed on the so-called ‘mansion tax,’ a policy created for the purpose of trapping the Conservatives instead of improving the economy. If implemented, this ludicrous scheme will trigger a major house price re-evaluation that will cost our economy dearly.

The elderly and disabled who had the ignominy to purchase their own home in the capital thirty years ago will be hit by eye-watering bills. Not to mention the many thousands of home owners who will split their houses into two flats or quit the country all together, taking their businesses with them.

On top of that, we know that Labour increase welfare spending, run up more debts and return our country to the mess it was in last time they were in charge.

These polices might have made sense if they were actually winning votes for Labour. But take a look in Scotland where the late arrival of their new leader Jim Murphy appears to be making things worse, not better. Look at Labour’s traditional territories like Heywood and Middleton where UKIP cut deep into their 6,000 majority, reducing it to a meagre 617 votes.

Labour’s chaotic campaign isn’t simply failing in one area and doing well in another, it is proving a disaster in every level of policy, including its leader. Douglas Alexander has led a lacklustre performance whilst US Obama campaign guru David Axelrod posted for a photo op and then left the country.

Even Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls is giving his own leader a kicking. Tweeting a photo in a greasy spoon café talking of his ‘bliss’ for finding a café which does proper bacon sandwiches. This deliberate move is designed to undermine the credentials of Ed Miliband, by reminding the British people once again of that awful bacon butty photo.

Meanwhile Lynton Crosby is leading the Conservative campaign with precision and clear messages on the economy and Britain’s future. It is a strategy designed around the slogan of the party’s ‘long-term economic plan’ and it is beginning to stick with voters.

His approach is mirrored by Jim Messina, Obama’s election strategist who is also advising the Conservatives. Messina has previously warned Tory MPs that every day they fail to campaign on the economy is ‘a day wasted’.

The Conservative approach to the economy seems a logical one. For you cannot improve the NHS, schools or create jobs without economic growth. So whatever line of attack Ed Miliband uses, David Cameron and the Conservatives can simply reply that these things cannot be achieved without a long-term economic plan.

It’s not simply that Ed Miliband isn’t fit to be Prime Minister, it is also that he has no credible policies to take our country forward. Labour’s chaotic campaign is muddled on the NHS, and lacking in any direction around the big economic challenges facing the country.

Much has been made of the now infamous Ed Miliband bacon sandwich photos, and some have argued that this unfortunate PR gaffe should not define him. Yet one of the reasons these images have remained politically potent for months on end is that they do indeed define the current leader of the Labour party, and everyone knows it.

Labour lost the election when those chose Ed Miliband as their leader, the chaotic campaign of confusion unravelling before us is simply the finale of a disastrous decision and the public will punish them for it.  

Steven George-Hilley is a director at the Parliament Street think tank. He is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator @StevenGeorgia

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